Federal authorities in Texas recently broke up what they say was a relatively elaborate fraud scheme. A total of 16 people were indicted following arrests, and they have been accused of committing bank fraud to the tune of $1.3 million. Those arrested face a combined total of 76 counts of federal charges.
Those involved apparently stole most of their information from cars that were parked in public places. Federal authorities claim that the accused individuals were able to steal various personal items, such as purses and wallets, as well as other critical identify information, including checks. Stolen checks were then allegedly cashed in at banks.
When cashing the stolen checks, those accused apparently donned various disguises and even put on wigs and only utilized the drive-thru banking lane. When those checks were written to other individuals involved in the fraud, the group allegedly used rental vehicles and used stolen license plates in place of the originals. They have since been charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud as well as identity theft.
In an age when many people in Texas and across the United States may have been affected in one way or another by identity theft, emotions may run high following these charges of bank fraud. However, it is imperative that the innocence and the rights of those accused are protected under the full breadth of the law. The burden of proof does not lie with the defendant, but rather with the prosecution, who must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that every element of the charges they face are valid and true.
Source: kbtx.com, “16 Indicted in North Texas ID Theft and Bank Fraud“, , Sept. 12, 2014